The rapid amalgamation of home life with work and study during the COVID pandemic has seen institutions worldwide adapting at speed to digital delivery and collaboration.

Our personal reliance on, exploration of, and innovation with technology has never been greater.

As a result, we have higher expectations of our universities and employers regarding the technology they provide, and how simple that technology is to use. Human-centred design is crucial to meeting the needs of increasingly tech-savvy students and employees.

What is human-centred technology design?

Human-centred technology is tech designed with us – the end user – firmly in mind, responding to our needs and desires.

Whether it takes the form of an app, device, system or website, it enhances our ability to achieve our work, study or social interactions by according equal priority to the human and technical design requirements.

Well-designed technology feels intuitive (while poor design feels as though you're learning a new language). Think Spotify, FitBit, Venmo, and even meal-box subscription platforms like Hello Fresh. What all these have in common is their use of technology to provide solutions to real problems, desires or challenges.

In short, they make our lives better and easier.

Why is it more important than ever?

As we trickle back into workplaces and classrooms with increased digital literacy (and reliance), we're likely to expect our technology to function better than ever before.

Many of us have had the chance to compare work technology with our personal tech, and want to translate the positive experiences of working from home into our study or work environments. A valid question at the forefront of our minds will be: 'When the reliance on technology (personally and professionally) has never been greater, why isn’t workplace and education technology as personalised and responsive as personal tech?'

This is particularly important in the education space where so many learning interactions that used to happen face-to-face have moved online. Post-pandemic, the desires, values, motivations and insights of staff and students need to be at the forefront of process or service design, and human-centred technology is almost certainly the answer to this.

What does human-centred technology look like at VU?

VU is known as a trailblazer in approaches to teaching and learning, from the VU Block Model through to tech innovation. Features like 'anywhere, anytime' access to daily systems, and a high level of flexibility, technological agility, customisation and personalised content, have emerged as high priorities for our students and employees.

For staff

At VU, one of the key ways we’re responding to our employees’ need for agile processes and improved technology is through the introduction of our new HCM solution. Our approach to implementation not only supports employees' needs but invites them to co-create their employee experience through features including self-service and query management. At the heart of our HCM implementation is this approach of co-creation – that is, collaboratively involving employees as clients in the design and implementation of the solution, and forming an innovative ecosystem between employees, the core project team and technology partners to ensure a truly human-centred result.

For students

For students, we’re embracing feedback that reflects the desire to access learning applications 24/7 and use their own devices to study in flexible ways and diverse environments. And we’re responding with the introduction of BYOD (bring your own device) capability to support a new learning and teaching experience across our campuses, beginning with the City West Tower, followed by other VU locations. For students, this new BYOD solution will mean having course-related applications available any place, any time and on any VU or personal device with internet connection.

At the impressive new campus known as City West Tower, students will begin to study in the first semester of 2022. The new building offers world-class digital technologies enabling an environment for collaboration, engagement, and the flexibility to study anytime, anywhere, using any device.

Want to work or study at VU and enjoy the convenience of leading technology and exciting innovation?  See the links below to read more and find out how.